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Ranks of Disabled Growing

From: Gretchen Lowerison <gretchen@hwg.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 11:04:15 -0400
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To: EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Forecast, January 1998 

Ranks of Disabled Growing

by Bill Stoneman

A growing number of Americans are reporting some level of disability, 
according to a Census Bureau report. And the figure is sure to get 
larger yet as baby boomers age. With a range in severity, however, 
disabilities are not necessarily a bar to employment. Seventy-seven 
percent of people aged 21 to 64 with non-severe disabilities held 
jobs in 1994. 

Approximately 54 million Americans of all ages said they had a 
disability in 1994, up from 49 million three year earlier. In 1991, 
19 percent of the population reported a disability. In 1994, 21 
percent had disabilities. In both years, slightly less than half of 
the disabled population had severe disabilities. 

Just 2 percent of people under 22 reported disabilities in 1994. The 
share increases with age, to 6 percent for people 22 to 44, 12 
percent for people 45 to 54, 22 percent for ages 55 to 64, 28 percent 
from 65 to 79 and 54 percent for people 80 years and older. 

Blacks are more likely than whites or Hispanics to have a severe 
disability. Among 22-to-44-year-olds, 12 percent of blacks had severe 
disabilities, compared with 6 percent of whites and 7 percent of 

Among all severely disabled, the employment rate and median income 
are significantly lower. Just 26 percent of 21-to-64-year-olds with 
severe disabilities (for example, Alzheimer's disease or a need for a 
wheelchair, cane, or personal assistance in daily living) were 
employed in 1994. The median monthly income for men with severe 
disabilities was $1,262 compared with $2,190 for men with no 
disability and $1,857 for men with nonsevere disabilities. 

The growing population of disabled people has a variety of assistive 
devices available to help ease the burden of daily living activities, 
according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. 
Nearly 1.7 million people use back braces and almost 200,000 people 
get around with artificial limbs. More than 7 million people employ 
mobility devices such as crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs and 
scooters. And more than 500,000 people use vision devices such as 
telescopic lenses, Braille and specially equipped computer equipment. 

For more information, see Current Population Report P70-61 Americans 
with Disabilities: 1994-1995. Copies are available for $1.25 from the 
Census Bureau; telephone (301) 457-4100 or go to Internet site 
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disable.html. Advance Data, No. 292, 
Trends and Differential Use of Assistive Technology Devices: United 
States, 1994, is available from the National Center for Health 
Statistics; telephone (301) 436-8500, or go to Internet site 


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Received on Monday, 23 October 2000 11:07:21 UTC

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